Prep Soccer: Mercer County boys blast Lincoln 8-2
Matthew Raskin of Mercer County slips past Lincoln County defender Santana Hocker (24) for a shot in the first half of the Titans' 8-2 victory over Lincoln County on Saturday that resulted in the first of Raskin's two goals. (Mike Marsee)
The 21st-ranked Titans won four games in a one-week period for the second time this season, securing the top spot in their district and scoring goals in bunches as they continued to build on one of their most successful seasons ever.
And it was capped Saturday by a convincing victory over another one of the area’s winningest teams, as they defeated Lincoln County 8-2 at King Middle School.
“This ranks up there as one of the better weeks,” sophomore Daniel Steele said.
Steele, Landon Souder and Matthew Raskin scored two goals each for Mercer (13-1-2), which built a 4-0 lead in the first half before Lincoln (10-5-1) got on the board.
“When these guys are on, they’re tough,”¿Mercer coach Tim Shannon said.
The Titans were on right from the start Saturday as they matched their 2010 victory total. Souder scored twice in about a minute to give them a 2-0 lead less than nine minutes into the game, and they went on to score on four of their first six shots on goal.
“I thought we maintained position pretty well, and we were quick on the counter and caught their defense off guard,” Steele said.
Steele said it was important for them to put the ball in the net early against Lincoln.
“We try to do it more in the more important games, just come out quick and hard and see if we can get a couple points on them and set the tone for the game,”¿he said. “We needed to state what we were here for, that we were here for a win, and show them who’s going to come out on top.”
After Souder scored twice off assists from Steele, Raskin made it 3-0 in the 26th minute with a one-on-one goal off a pass from Tate Spivey and Steele threaded through three defenders to score in the 31st minute.
Shannon said he thought the Titans relaxed a bit after that, and he said this isn’t the first time that’s happened after they have built an early lead.
“It seemed like we just got comfortable. Of course, they are teenagers,”¿he said. “But I’d much rather be fighting them off than trying to play catch-up.”
Lincoln couldn’t catch up, and the Patriots lost for the second time in three days.
“We were going up against the No. 1 team in the region. We knew what we were facing, and ... we’re utilizing it as a benchmark as to where we stand, and it’s a way to measure the growth that we’ve had this entire season,”¿Peters said. “This is a good game to have before district tournament, because it exposes us to what we need to work on.”
Peters said one thing they need to work on is getting the ball toward the goal more quickly.
“We had too many touches on the ball before we released it. We also did play very wide,” she said. “But holding a No. 1 region team to 8-2 is something that I’m proud of us (for).”
Carter Dunn scored the first goal for Lincoln in the 37th minute off a pass from Carl-Lewis Cummins, and the Patriots outshot Mercer 6-0 over a seven-minute stretch late in the first half.
Steele and Clay Morris scored in the first 15 minutes of the second half to give Mercer a 6-1 lead. After Lincoln’s Adam Singleton scored in the 63rd minute, Mason Angel and Raskin scored to cap the scoring for the Titans, who outshot the Patriots 24-11 and had a 17-4 advantage in shots on goal.
Mercer scored 31 goals in its four games between Monday and Saturday, which included wins over Garrard County and Danville on consecutive days that allowed it to clinch the top seed for next week’s 29th District Tournament.
The Titans are 8-0 against 15th Region opponents, and Shannon said they are once again headed in the right direction as they head toward the postseason.
“We’ve already been where we needed to be, and then everybody got hurt. Now we’re on our way back,” he said.
The Titans went undefeated through their first 10 games, but also endured a rash of injuries that forced Shannon to repeatedly rewrite his lineup. Now all of those who were injured are back except for forward-midfielder Corey Brown, who is expected to return to practice Monday following a concussion, and goalkeeper Slade Ransdell, who is out for the season with a broken leg.
“We should be back at full strength by district,” Shannon said.